‘This Is Crazy’: Pacers’ Caris LeVert Reveals How Guarding LeBron James Was His Welcome to the NBA Moment

Published 07/31/2021, 6:30 AM EDT
Jan 28, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) goes up for a shot against Detroit Pistons center Mason Plumlee (24) during the first quarter at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports


One of the all-time greats, LeBron James has gained respect in the league quite similar to former legends. An 18-season career of pure class has rightfully made the King an inspiration for the younger NBA generation. And a recent addition to the Indiana Pacers, Caris LeVert has cherished his first time playing against LeBron very well.

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Caris LeVert was drafted by the Indiana Pacers in the 2016 NBA draft, but he got immediately traded to the Brooklyn Nets. After five years in Brooklyn, LeVert is back to his draft team – Pacers. He was part of the four-team trade deal wherein LeVert was sent to Pacers, James Harden to Brooklyn, and Victor Oladipo to Houston.

Mar 15, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Indiana Pacers head coach Nate Bjorkgren with center Myles Turner (33) and guard Malcolm Brogdon (7) and guard Caris LeVert (22) and forward Domantas Sabonis (11) and guard Aaron Holiday (3) during a timeout in the third quarter against the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Caris LeVert’s first striking NBA moment was playing against LeBron

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Talking about his ‘welcome to NBA’ moment, LeVert revealed how he was playing against LeBron James‘ Cleveland team. That’s when it struck him that he was part of the league and how big of a deal it was. In conversation with JJ Redick, LeVert said, “Just playing against him [LeBron] and guarding him for the first time. Seeing him in like real life, I hadn’t really seen him before…”

“I’m from Ohio so a lot of my people are huge LeBron fans. So, everybody was tuned into that game… That was the point in time I’m like, ‘Damn I’m really in the NBA right now. I’m really playing against LeBron, I’m playing against Cans right now. This is crazy.'”

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LeBron James is an inspiration for many players in the league

LeBron is becoming an idol for the upcoming youngsters of the league. More than being a competitor for many, he has gained immense respect over the years. However, the 36-YO Lakers superstar isn’t stopping anytime soon. After clinching a title in Orlando, he’s looking for more rings in his clutch years.

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Caris LeVert averaged 20.2 points, 5.2 assists, and 4.6 rebounds with the Pacers this year. His team eventually finished ninth in the Eastern Conference standings holding a 34-38 record. It came down to an unsuccessful season for the Pacers with Victor Oladipo getting traded to Houston.

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Pavni Ahuja

500 articles

Pavni Ahuja is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Housing a keen interest in sports journalism, she is pursuing an undergraduate Journalism degree from Christ University. Pavni is an ardent fan of the NBA, with prior district-level playing experience in basketball.

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